BMJ joins leading academic publishers as part of national library resource ‘Access to Research’

1 November 2017

BMJ, one of the world’s leading healthcare knowledge providers, has partnered with Access to Research to provide free access to their content in UK public libraries.

BMJ publishes over 3 million articles from 60 peer-reviewed medical and allied science journals including the flagship title The BMJ.

The Access to Research initiative, which gives users in public libraries free access to over 15 million academic articles, was originally launched in order to expand access to publicly funded research in the UK.

‘Medical’ and ‘Health and biological sciences’ have historically been in the top three search categories for Access to Research. Now over 80% of UK local authorities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from BMJ’s world leading journals in fields such as cardiology, paediatrics, neurology, quality improvement, and global health.

Allison Lang, Publishing Director at BMJ, says: ‘BMJ’s vision is for ‘a healthier world’ and we are delighted to join this important initiative to help members of the public access high quality, trusted information on the latest medical and scientific research.’

Neil MacInnes, President of The Society of Chief Librarians commented ‘This is a terrific opportunity for public library users across the country to view the latest academic research on a range of important health issues. The Society of Chief Librarians is proud to be a key partner in the Access to Research initiative and is committed to continuing to increase public access to published research in libraries across the country through our Universal Learning, Information and Digital offers.’

The Access to Research initiative was developed by Publishers’ Licensing Services (PLS) in collaboration with The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and the Publishers Association (PA). The service is provided with generous support from ProQuest.


Notes to Editors

Media contact
Robert Stein, Communications Manager, PLS on or 020 7079 5938

Access to Research was launched in response to a key recommendation of the Finch Group, a committee convened by the Government to explore how access to publicly funded research could be expanded. The Finch Group recommended that the major journal publishers should grant public libraries a licence to provide free access to their academic articles. Access to Research is the result of a unique collaboration between librarians and publishers, who have made their journal content available for free to UK libraries. The content is searchable through the Summon® discovery service, provided free of charge by ProQuest.

Current Access to Research participating publishers are: ALPSP, BMJ, Cambridge University Press, De Gruyter Open, Dove Press, Edinburgh University Press, Elsevier, Emerald, IOP Publishing, Manchester University Press, Oxford University Press, Portland Press, Royal Society Journals, SAGE Publications, Science Reviews 2000 Ltd., Society for General Microbiology, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Whiting & Birch Ltd., Wiley and Wolters Kluwer Health.

About the implementation group:

Publishers’ Licensing Services
Publishers’ Licensing Services (formerly Publishers Licensing Society) provides collective rights management services to publishers by overseeing collective licensing for book, journal, magazine and website copying. PLS also provides permissions and other rights management services to the publishing industry. PLS developed the Access to Research service in collaboration with SCL, the PA and ALPSP and continues to manage it. PLS is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1981.

The Society of Chief Librarians
The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) leads and manages public libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. SCL is made up of the head of service of every library authority, and advocates for continuous improvement of the public library service on behalf of local people.

ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information. Key to serious research, the company’s products are a gateway to the world’s knowledge including dissertations, governmental and cultural archives, news, historical collections and ebooks. ProQuest technologies serve users across the critical points in research, helping them discover, access, share, create and manage information.

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)
ALPSP is the international membership body for not-for-profit organizations that publish scholarly and professional content and those who work with them. ALPSP connects, informs, develops and represents its members and has a membership of 330 companies in 40 countries. Over 10,000 journals are published by ALPSP members as well as numerous books, databases and other products and services.

The Publishers Association
The Publishers Association is the leading trade organisation serving book, journal, audio and electronic publishers in the UK. Membership comprises 108 companies from across the trade, academic and education sectors. Its core service is representation and lobbying, around copyright, rights and other matters relevant to members, who represent roughly 80% of the industry by turnover.

About BMJ
BMJ is a healthcare knowledge provider that aims to advance healthcare worldwide by sharing knowledge and expertise to improve experiences, outcomes and value. For a full list of BMJ products and services, please visit